It's been many years since my typical alcohol consumption has been more than a beer or two every month or two. I've often gone months without cracking open a cold one. I just don't feel a need to indulge. Yes, I used to do the typical "go out once or twice a week with the guys" thing, but I got most of it out of my system before I hit my thirties.
Just because I don't drink much doesn't mean I've lost my ability to enjoy a good drink. Nothing could be further from the truth. Special occasions often call for a gin & tonic, for instance.
Other occasions (or no occasion at all) call for the angels' own beverage of choice, uisge beatha, the water of life: single malt scotch whisky. And now, thanks to The Thirsty Traveller, I've found my own little corner of Nirvana: the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (and, of course, its U.S. chapter.)
Now, North Carolina has a lot of rules and laws about alcohol carried over from Prohibition days. Here, for instance, the only place to buy anything stronger than wine is at a state-operated store. Oddly, while you can buy Everclear at the "ABC Store," you can't get potent varieties of beer anywhere in the state. If you want to special-order a particular libation they don't normally carry, you have to order an entire case. I presume there are other states with similar laws and operations.
One of the services of the Society is a sort of "bottle of the month club." The world's finest scotch whiskies, at full cask strength (the stuff you buy in the stores is diluted before bottling), picked by experts and delivered to the Society member. I can't wait to join.
Sadly, one of the rules here in NC is that mail-order liquor must be shipped to one of the state stores for pickup, rather than directly to the buyer's address. On second thought, maybe that's a good thing. I couldn't drink a whole bottle every month.
But right now I think I hear a glass of Glen Garioch calling my name.
I've been awful busy of late, so posting has been light.
Today, when I have time, I have absolutely nothing to say that hasn't already been said elsewhere. Gaaarrrr. I probably ought to get a life, so that I'd have some interesting anecdotes to relate.
Instead, I present to you the highlights of today's tour of the blogrolls:
- Frank gives us the scoop on Canada. Canada doesn't come out of it too well.
- Steve takes on the Hollywood Pharisees, as well as issuing a well-deserved smack upside the head of the Sex and the City crowd. Whiny self-obsessed idiots....
- Serenity posts photos, and gets dinged by a copyright lawyer. I'm so jealous. I could put Microsoft's source code on my site and no one would notice.
- Via Spoons, we find noted Sci-Fi author Orson Scott Card (go read Ender's Game -- now!) ably and eloquently defending traditional marriage.
- Bill Hobbs confesses. So should we all.
- The "dark dream" of the post-9/11 world -- or rather, the prospect of waking up from it -- disturbs Blackfive. "We are a nation at war. Many don't understand this premise." Too true.
- Courtesy of doc Russia, a few cheap shots at Kerry. Hey, I was in Korea for over 900 days. Does that count?
- Denita mourns the Comanche. And the Osprey and Raptor, too. In a Fair And Just World, there would be a "coolness factor" assessed as part of the military procurement process.
- Idiots harrass a bunch of kids. Mamamontezz objects.
- Bill Whittle teases. Sing with me: "Anticipation...."
- Charles is tired of the whining from Andrew Sullivan and others about GWB endorsing the FMA.
Folks, there's plenty more to see out there.
President Bush, in remarks to the Republican Governors Association:
The other party's nomination battle is still playing out. The candidates are an interesting group, with diverse opinions: For tax cuts, and against them. For NAFTA, and against NAFTA. For the Patriot Act, and against the Patriot Act. In favor of liberating Iraq, and opposed to it. And that's just one senator from Massachusetts.Actually, the whole thing is pretty good. Go read it.
Yes, yes, I've been taking a couple days off from the 'net. E-mail? Feh. Browsing? Humbug.
Now I have a bit of catching up to do.
Call it preemption. Call it self-defense. Call it liberation. In truth, President Bush is advancing the Reagan Doctrine, or what should now be called the Reagan-Bush Doctrine. Ronald Reagan rejected the Iron Curtain, he rejected Communism, and he rejected the status quo. He came to office when the Soviet Union was extending its tentacles over several continents, including South America. He believed that, for humanitarian and national-security reasons, the Soviets had to be defeated, not tolerated. And against all conventional wisdom, and severe criticism from many of the same Democrats who now disparage George Bush, Reagan did just that. Hundreds of millions were freed, and the Russians are no longer the threat they once were. Who would have thought it? Certainly not the Democrats.
I had never personally witnessed a house fire, until a few nights ago.
Fire broke out in the garage of a house on the other side of the street from mine. The reasons aren't clear to me, but it's really none of my business (unless there's a serial arsonist running around out there.)
The homeowners, a young couple expecting their first baby, detected the fire and called 911, grabbed their coats and got out of the house. It was a brisk 32° that night.
Then the Fire Department showed up.
The Volunteer Fire Department.
The firetruck showed up at about 10pm that night, followed less than a minute later by the first of a fleet of cars and trucks - the volunteer cavalry.
Before I moved here to North Carolina a few years ago, I had no idea volunteer FDs still existed in places like this, less than 20 miles from the state capitol. But exist they do, and I'm glad for it. One of my poker buddies, who lives only about a block down the street, is a member of the AVFD and was the first on the scene.
[The volunteers receive a page or a phone call, then drive themselves to the scene of whatever incident to which they are responding. No, I didn't think volunteers would actually spend their on-call hours camped out at the station waiting for a call, but then I never really gave it any thought before. Shame on me.]
To my untrained eye, there was no telling that these were "amateur" firefighters.
These are people who hold "day jobs" and yet commit their free time to the community. They spend long hours training themselves to help people and save lives, and they stand ready to answer a call at a moment's notice. And they never know if the call they receive is the one that will put them in danger of life and limb.
Following 9/11, a great deal of well-deserved praise was heaped on firefighters all around the country. We would do well to remember that their dedication hasn't diminished simply because we don't bother to pay attention to it any more.
Glenn Reynolds asks:
SO DOES ANYBODY HAVE EXPERIENCE with this wireless printer from HP? I'd like to set up wireless printing, but from what I've heard it's not really ready for primetime, and the reviews on this thing's Amazon page are, um, mixed.Having spent the bulk of the last 4 years working on wireless networking, maybe I can provide something like an answer.
What I'd like is a printer that will simply print from any wi-fi computer in range without any networking setup at all. I don't think that such a beast exists. Am I wrong?
Printing is typically done one of two ways. The classic way to do it is to use a directly connected printer on your parallel port. This can be awkward if you have more than one computer from which to print, unless you buy an automatic switchbox.
The more modern way is to send your print job across the network to a print server which then feeds the print job to the printer. Modern network printers eliminate the separate server (it's built in, like on this one) and accept the print job directly.
But that's neither here nor there. The question is, can a network printer be used without any networking setup?
Specifically, to use a wireless printer like the HP referred to in Glenn's post, you must have the same networking configuration you would have if you were on a wired Local Area Network. Wireless networking itself requires some additional configuration, but only because you're using radio to replace the copper wire, and radio can be notoriously fickle.
[Aside: an old joke from my Electronic Warfare days:
Newbie: "How does radio work?"
Old-timer: "You've heard of AM and FM, right? Well, radio works because of FM."
Old-timer: "F***ing Magic."]
So once you have a wireless network established, it should act like any wired LAN. Printing configuration is then layered on top of that, just like any other network application -- browser, e-mail, instant messaging -- you name it. Every such app requires some degree of configuration; it can be hidden (like with most browsers) but there's no escaping it completely.
To print without any networking setup at all (well, minimal setup) would depend on the existence of a wireless link from the computers' parallel ports to the printer in question. Those computers would have to link to a wireless equivalent of something like an automatic switchbox.
Is it possible? Sure. It could be done right now - and for all I know, it's already been done.
Is it cost effective? Probably not. In addition to the cost of the printer (already a given, of course), you would need to buy the peripherals: the switchbox, and a parallel-port wireless "dongle" for each computer that would be originating any print jobs. And then you would still have to do a bit of configuration on the parallel wireless connection -- you'd have to set the radio frequency, for instance. If it were to operate in one of the existing bands (such as the 2.4GHz range, where 802.11b hangs out) you'd have to worry about interference issues.
In sum, there's no easy way to do it.
When I buy my next printer (I think it's time to make the leap to a laser printer) I'll probably just set up a linux box to do print serving for the rest of the network. Adding wireless into the mix is an extra layer of complexity that, for me, isn't really necessary.
Oh, and... I'm not keen on "all in one" boxes like the HP Glenn point to. Call me a stodgy old traditionalist, but I like a scanner to scan, a fax machine to fax, and a printer to print. I've always had a deep suspicion that a "jack of all trades" box would be master of none. The cliché could be wrong, but that's not the way to bet.
UPDATE: There are likely to be many possible alternative methods. One occurred to me just five minutes after I posted this. Why not have a wireless-capable printer simply sniff the airwaves for anything that looks like a print job? I can think of one main reason why not; it's that nasty cost factor again. You'd have to, in essense, build an Access Point into the printer, and add the software to do the sniffing. Manufacturers would balk, I think, because there'd be no profit margin on adding that capability. But that's just a guess.
Victor Davis Hanson:
For all the most recent invective about his lack of spontaneous televised eloquence, almost every necessary and dangerous initiative Mr. Bush has undertaken since 9/11 — protect American shores, destroy the Taliban, scatter al Qaeda, take out Saddam Hussein, promote democracy in the Middle East, put rogue regimes with weapons of mass destruction on notice — has worked or is in the process of coming to fruition.Published at National Review Online
In response to that success often we have met dissimulation, pretext, and rhetoric of those who have much to lose and very little to gain by seeing the old way of business — status quo alliances, deductive anti-Americanism, corrupt Middle East policies, and bankrupt ideologies such as moral equivalence, utopian pacifism, and multiculturalism — go by the wayside.
And so we get fantasy in place of reality.
OK, OK, it's Drudge... but he's been right so many times before.
Don't like Drudge? Well, Scott Ott is all over the story, too: Alleged Kerry Intern Scandal Sparks Clinton Endorsement
Personally, I don't buy it. This is John "Cash And" Kerry we're talking about here... and after all, how rich is a mere intern likely to be?
I have no kids, and at my age am unlikely to ever have any (though it's possible, I suppose, if I ever meet the perfect woman, e.g., one who will go out with me more than once), but I have two nieces and a nephew I love more than anything.
James Lileks, on parenthood:
When first you hold [your child's] hand it’s a tight small walnut balled in protest against the cold and the light. Then it’s the small collection of wiggly digits you’re washing forty times a day. Then it’s big enough so its fingers fit into yours. You’re no longer holding the hand at the wrist; now you weave your fingers together instinctively. I don’t think it’s possible to do this, ever, without some voice in the back of your head steeling you for the day when she pulls away, and pulls away for good. Or at least for a few years. Four, ten, twenty – what counts is that you’ll hold hands again at the end.
... make sure you're armed:
This is an example of the thousands upon thousands of defensive gun uses that occur every year -- but you never hear about them. We'd never have heard about this one were it not for the fact that it's pretty amusing.
Now if I could just arrange for the same to happen during the 100° heat this coming August.
Well, well, well.
I figure I'm eligible for the new Korean Defense Service Medal.
I guess 2.5 years on the DMZ does count for something.
SGT Hook links to Baldilocks' takedown of those who would try to prevent our Armed Forces recruiters from doing their duty.
Hook then continues to tell his own story of having been a recruiter.
My own recruiting process went pretty smoothly -- I was far from being a "problem child" -- but I saw a little bit of the hassles the recruiters had to go through; I never once envied them their position.
Scott Ott (he of Scrappleface fame) has started a new site, this one serious:
I can certainly understand the motives behind it. Personally, I've not watched MTV since the early '90s, back when they actually put music videos on the airwaves. At the time, it was a brilliant concept. Actual music, on TV!
Then came "Yo - MTV Raps" and the end was nigh.
Now, it's all crap. "The Real World," in which a gang of poltroons are put into an artificial setting and act like idiots on camera. The only thing real about it is the idiocy. "The Osbournes," in which a burnt-to-nearly-vegetative rocker and his family are examined minutely... well, no, I can't say much about either of those shows -- I've never seen them, so all I know is what I read elsewhere.
No, I don't watch MTV. They lost me as a viewer a very long time ago.
MTV, in an effort to keep new crops of young viewers hooked, has taken the low road, into filthiness, into depravity. "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy," indeed. The recent Super Bowl flap was merely icing on the cake.
But perhaps it was a wake-up call to that generation of early MTV viewers who now are old enough to have kids starting to turn to MTV as their electronic babysitter. Folks, it's not the same MTV we watched in our youth. For us, it was "hair" bands - mostly harmless. Now it's "Girls Gone Wild" set to some sort of pre-fab electronic beat, and it's doing incredible damage to the young in our society.
Man, I feel old all of a sudden.
I could go on, but Scott does it so much better.
Ronald Reagan turned 93 today.
During the 1980 presidential campaign, candidate Reagan made a campaign stop and policy speech at our Illinois college one day. I, having been born & bred in California, had spent a number of years with him as my Governor, so I suppose I had an "in" with the College Republicans. I had the great privilege of encountering Mr. Reagan briefly and shaking his hand that day. I've never forgotten it. I only wish I had a photo.
Of all fates, there is one I fear most; it fills me with unspeakable dread. I shudder to think of it.
That fate, the horror of Alzheimer's Disease, has robbed Mr. Reagan of nearly everything, not the least of which has been the ability to enjoy his well-deserved post-Presidential golden years, which should have been a time for him to get back in touch with the people he loved so much -- real Americans.
For defeating the evil of Totalitarian Communism, he deserves every recognition, every accolade, every award, every word of praise that can be given him. History books may some day tell the story, but for now he merely declines in isolation.
I don't think I ever heard a sadder story. I don't think you could make up a more tragic story.
God bless you, Ronald Reagan, as He blessed us with your strength, leadership, determination and fortitude during the most dangerous time in the history of the world.
Like a vampire of legend, the "Bush was AWOL" lie seems to live on and on.
Bill Hobbs, however, finds the wooden stake, and drives it through the heart of the "Bush was AWOL" lie.
The difference between a vampire and the the "Bush was AWOL" lie is that the vampire never received first aid and life support from the Democrat party and the media.
James Lileks, riffing on the Kerry campaign:
I think I speak for millions when I say that I am deathly sick of the counterculture sixties. The music, the war, the protests, all the hagiography - it's not a reflection of the era’s importance but the self-importance of the generation who hung on the bus as it trundled along down the same old rutted road of history.. I’m tired of hearing about the boomers’ days of whine and neuroses; I’m weary of ritual genuflection to their musical icons; I’m utterly disinterested in most of the pop-cult trivia they hold so dear. We’ll probably be better off when that demographic pig has been excreted from the python so we can see the era clearly without choking on the smoke.In The Bleat
A little over 18 years ago, Challenger was lost shortly after liftoff.
A year ago yesterday, Columbia was lost on re-entry.
Each took seven brave souls with her.
Now would be a good time to read (or re-read) Bill Whittle's extraordinary essay, Courage.
Of course, the risks we private pilots face pales in comparison to our military fliers, and is absolutely nothing compared to that met eye-to-eye by men and women like Rick Husband, Willie McCool, Dave Brown, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Mike Anderson, and Ilan Ramon; nor does it require the courage and skill of Dick Scobee, Mike Smith, Ron McNair, El Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis or Judy Resnik. These are the last crews of Columbia, and Challenger before her, buried with their ships in the skies over Florida and Texas.It may be the single finest essay I have ever read.
Don't rush through it. Take your time, and savour every word.
Dick Scobee, Mike Smith, Ron McNair, El Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis and Judy Resnik.
Rick Husband, Willie McCool, Dave Brown, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Mike Anderson, and Ilan Ramon.
Remember their courage.
And remember them.
On our casualties in Iraq:
The international terrorist groups led by al Qaeda have now been deprived of their bases in Afghanistan, their potential source of chemical and biological agents in Iraq, their support from Libya, their unrestricted access to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and the reliability of their hitherto totally safe assistance from Iran and Syria. All this our honored dead have won for us. Their families deserve to glory in it for generations.Michael Novak, at National Review Online
"Greater love no man hath," the Good Book tells us, "than that he lay down his life for his friends." This, too, they have done for their fellow citizens. They have saved the cause of liberty from the shame of appeasing terror. They have protected their homeland and countrymen.
One day it will be a great boast for their children: "My father fought in Iraqi Freedom. He altered the course of history." And so they will be remembered by grandchildren, so long as memory lives.
Carolina Hurricanes make it to the Stanley Cup - lose.
Carolina Panthers make it to the Super Bowl - lose.
Good thing we don't have a Major League Baseball team here. I don't think I could take seeing them lose the World Series. I'll stick with the triple-A Durham Bulls.